More than 100 cats were rescued from a home in Texas belonging to elderly twin sisters who were living with the animals in appalling conditions, according to animal welfare investigators.
In some parts of the home mounds of feces piled up to four feet high, an SPCA spokeswoman said.
A foul stench still lingers at the residence on West Road, Houston, where this week the SPCA said it seized more than 100 felines living with their owners among filthy conditions.
The cats were found in varying states of ill health, SPCA spokeswoman Meera Nandlal told ABC News. Some were emaciated and balding, while many had upper respiratory conditions that caused blood to gush out of their noses.
"When I opened the front door, there was trash and feces everywhere and everything in the home was covered in stuff," Nandlal said. "You can smell the ammonia of the feces and urine not only when you open the front door, but even from the street."
After receiving an anonymous complaint on Thursday, police officers and a team of animal cruelty investigators arrived at the home and spent hours corralling the cats to come out of their hiding places.
Officers wore gas masks as they combed the house. They managed to round up the dozens of cats and transport them to the SPCA for treatment. They also found one cat dead and decomposing in a bathroom, Nandlal said.
"I didn't have a respirator to wear, so wasn't in there for that long," Nandlal said. "But even to go in there at any length was difficult."
"We never seen like crowds of cats running around. They kept it quiet," neighbor George Golchenko told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.
Another neighbor, Mark Lee, was sympathetic, saying the women "tried their best to take care of them but when you have that many animals you can only do so much for them."
All of the cats have since been vaccinated and received veterinary care.
"Pending judicial disposition, the SPCA will try to place the animals in loving homes," Nandlal said.
The twin sisters, both in their 60s, were told by officials not to live inside the home for now. One of the sisters was taken away in an ambulance for medical evaluation, while the other told an animal rescue worker she planned to stay with a niece.
Nandlal said she had participated in a number of large-scale rescues in the past, but had never seen anything like this.
"We have rescued all sorts of different animals before; dogs, cats, exotics," she said. "This one was really up there."